Mountains Beyond Mountains

In the book, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, Paul Farmer made and continues to make a profound difference in the world. He was extremely successful because of the help he received from people who surrounded him. Partners In Health (PIH), Farmer’s organization, gives healthcare to people who cannot afford it and treatment to those with tuberculosis and AIDS. Although he was a founding advocate to the success of Partners In Health, Farmer would not have accomplished all that he did without the aid from others. Usually, it takes a group of people with the same goals in order to make a change in the world.
Not everyone in the world can drop his/her entire life and put as much effort into saving the world as Paul Farmer did. However, he had many dedicated people who helped him. Without Ophelia Dahl, Tom White, and Jim Yong Kim, Paul Farmer would not have been nearly as successful as he is today. Ophelia Dahl sacrificed a great deal to make Partners In Health the success it is. Ophelia met farmer when she was just eighteen years old working as a volunteer for Eye Care Haiti. Ophelia and Farmer fell in love while both in Haiti.
They both decided their relationship was not going to work due to the amount of time Farmer spent helping others. She realized that her needs as his wife would get in the way of his desire to be the best doctor that he could be. In a letter that Ophelia wrote to Paul she said, “The qualities I love in you-that drew me to you-also cause me to resent you: namely your unswerving commitment to the poor, your limitless schedule and your massive compassion for others” (Kidder 66). This quote proves how much Farmer put himself before others and put his personal life last on his priority list.

Ophelia described Paul Farmer as someone whom is a pleasure to work around. She explained there is always a way to avoid being a bystander because Farmer constantly needs help. In response to that, Ophelia helped start Partners In Health and still manages the organization today. Tom White was also an essential part in the starting and continuance of Partners In Health. Kidder wrote, “Some of the cash came from grants but most of it from private donations, the largest from a Boston developer named Tom White, who gave millions over the years” (Kidder 22).
White was a wealthy man who owned a construction firm in Boston and helped Farmer get enough money in order to start the hospital that he thought had much potential. He met Paul Farmer when Farmer was still training to be a doctor and the millions of dollars he gave supported Partners In Health for several years. Although Tom White did not directly take care of any of the patients, he saved millions of lives due to his generosity. Without his money there would have been numerous tragic deaths that could have been treated with just a few supplies.
Kidder explains, “Farmer and his staff of community health workers treated most tuberculosis patients in their huts and spent between $150 an $200 to cure an uncomplicated case” (Kidder 22). Thus, this quote goes to show how many lives Tom White technically saved with the millions of dollars he put forth. Jim Yong Kim is what we would call Paul Farmer’s “partner in crime” in carrying out Farmer’s ideals in medicine. Kim was a founder of Partners In Health with Farmer. He worked beside Farmer and is also a Brigham doctor who puts much of his life into saving patients with tuberculosis and AIDS.
Farmer also played a prominent role in curing several cases of AIDS and HIV through World Health Organization. In addition to his help in Haiti, Kim also started a clinic in Peru to help cure severe cases of tuberculosis. In Peru, he helped create a treatment program for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. He successfully solved many tuberculosis cases in Peru and proved to many it is possible to cure severe cases that may seem untreatable. Kim still continues helping with Partners In Health and contributing to the expanding medical field.
Without the help of these individuals, Paul Farmer would not have accomplished nearly as much as he did. The more support and help that one has the more goals they are likely to accomplish. Although Dahl, White, and Kim may not have been as extreme as Farmer they still changed many lives. They created organizations that still stand today and continue to help sick dc-=-people. If everyone helped someone just once at some point in their day like Farmer did, more and more lives could be changed.

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New York University
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